Fada Update - February 2009

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FADA began about three years ago, around the same time that the Transition Town movement was beginning in Kinsale, and our projects have affected our region in many ways. We have organised community festivals; given numerous talks on issues like peak oil and climate change; persuaded the head of a major industry to switch to solar power and bio-fuels; hosted talks on oil, economy and ecology by experts and television personalities; created allotments and gardening teams; and given numerous interviews for local media.

This year we have continued to have a weekly column in the Kildare Nationalist, perhaps the world's only regular newspaper column on how to deal with peak oil and climate change. The column deals with a wide variety of issues: how to preserve food, make sprouts, find edible wild food, make yogurt and sourdough, conserve power and build community. Sometimes columns have dealt with more timely issues, either to promote FADA events or to comment on recent news reports like December's IEA report. 

In December 2007, FADA organised a number of Christmas cooking courses with Newbridge Chef William Crowley, showing local people how to make great meals using seasonal vegetables. In January of this year, three FADA members spoke to students at Feile Bridhe Primary School about our organisation and the work it does.

  In February 2008, several FADA members toured the eco-village being built in Cloughjordan, County Tipperary, and received a tour of the ongoing project.

  In April, FADA organised a free Energy Workshop at the Ryston Social Centre in Newbridge, to help local residents choose alternative energy systems like wood pellet boilers, heat pumps and solar panels for water heating. FADA members Katerina Karantzi and Trionna Muldoon explained how to apply for a Greener Homes Scheme grant from Sustainable Energy Ireland and how to build energy ratings. Adrian Geissel described how to install solar panels, Dr. Jean Fletcher outlined the pros and cons of installing a wood pellet boiler into her house, and Dr. Patrick Waterfield of Belfast spoke about how these various alternative systems operate, as well as the importance of insulation. 

  Also in April, FADA hosted a talk at the Riverbank Theatre for Transition Year students from several area schools. Brian Kaller gave a presentation about peak oil and climate change for the students, followed by a showing of the documentary “The Power of Communty.” The talk was filmed and put on YouTube, and DVDs were sent to various Transition and related initiatives around the world. Each school received compost, pots, seed trays or incubators and every pupil was given seeds before they left, courtesy of Johnstown Garden Centre. Kaller gave another talk that same evening for an adult audience. After the event, Theresa Carter hosted the first meeting of a FADA group for young people, FADA Og.

  For months FADA members helped coordinate plans for a Farmers' Market in Newbridge, and in June the first weekly event was held – offering residents a chance to buy locally-grown organic food and giving a boost to local farmers.

  This summer, five FADA members attended Transition Town training in Dublin, and hosted a workshop to train others. Sixteen area people attended – some of whom, before the year was over, would found Transition Town Kildare. Transition Town Kildare has been off to a great start, hosting talks by peak oil experts as well as Food and Horticulture Minister Trevor Sergeant.

  In the autumn FADA members organized a Halloween Festival, the Feile na Samhna, which was a major success. Hundreds of people attended the event, which included booths, talks, workshops and theatre. Davie Phillip spoke to attendees about how communities can power down; Theresa Carter explained Transition Towns, and Brian Kaller spoke about peak oil and the world's future. Local theatre students enacted skits they had written themselves about life in a post-peak world, children enjoyed a pupet theatre, and young filmmakers showed a series of short films about the area. Local organizations like Future Forests, the Steiner School and the South Kildare Beekeepers hosted booths, and craftsman hosted workshops for adults and children on making wormeries, baskets, and other home crafts. Finally, attendees could participate in a World Cafe discussion on how to prepare the area for the coming changes.

  This January, FADA elected new leaders to replace members who moved away or tended to other obligations. Early this year we plan to organise area teenagers for a variety of projects, as well as turning a vacant lot in the middle of town into a community garden.